Staying Safe and Mobile With Multiple Myeloma

Physical activity can help your body in many ways, especially if you have cancer. Proper movement can better your strength, improve flexibility, build up heart and lung function, lower stress, and boost your confidence and energy. All these things can help you feel better while living with multiple myeloma.

Because multiple myeloma can affect your mobility, it puts you at a higher risk for injury or falling. This can make physical activity more challenging. Both physical therapy and assistive devices can help you minimize accidents and stay safe during your daily activities.

Physical Therapy

Studies show that strength and balance training can help lower the risk of falls and other injuries in people with multiple myeloma. Physical therapy programs with a licensed professional can help you safely work on these skills. You can take these classes in your own home or in the hospital.

Before you begin any physical therapy program, your specialist will ask questions to tailor the program to your needs. Make sure they’re aware of your specific needs. Some movements, even gentle yoga poses, may be uncomfortable for people with multiple myeloma symptoms.

Your physical therapist may set up a personalized workout plan for you to do on your own. This will include specific instructions such as:

  • How many exercise sessions you should do per week
  • How intense they should be
  • How long they should last
  • What type of activity you should do

Your workout plan might include bone-strengthening exercises like climbing stairs, walking, or dancing. If these activities cause bone pain or any changes in your pain symptoms, let your doctor know right away.

It may not always be easy to stay active with multiple myeloma, but there are some less intense movements you can do to build strength:

  • With your knees straight in front of you, point your toes up and down to pump your ankle. Do this while lying in bed or sitting down.
  • Sit in a chair and keep your knees and hips still while you move your ankle in the motion of the letters of the alphabet.
  • Sit in a chair and lift your arms out to your sides or in front of you. As you lift, breathe in. As you lower, breathe out.

As with any exercise, stop right away if you begin to feel any sort of discomfort or pain.

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Assistive Devices

Whether you’re at home or staying in a hospital, it’s important that you have tools to help you to move safely. There are many devices that your caregivers can install or place close to you. These things will allow you to stay mobile and provide stability in an emergency, like falling.

  • Canes or walkers can help you keep your balance while walking or standing.
  • Reachers can help you grasp small items that are slightly out of reach. Keep these within close reach to your bed or chair.
  • Handrails or grab bars help you pull yourself up or catch yourself before you fall. You can ask your caretaker to install these around your home.
  • Wheelchairs or body braces may also help you avoid falls or other accidents.

Talk with your doctor about which assistive devices could work for you.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on April 19, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

Weill Cornell Medicine: “Staying Active and Safe with Multiple Myeloma.”

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “Cancer Rehab and Exercise for the Patient with Multiple Myeloma.”

Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing: “Mobility and Safety in the Multiple Myeloma Survivor: Survivorship Care Plan of the International Myeloma.”

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